A curious thing appeared in a wheat field in Eastern Oregon recently.
Attempting to get rid of some out of harvest wheat plants that sprouted, farmers noticed that the plants did not respond to a commonly used herbicide called glyphosate.
They knew this was not a normal type of wheat.
Oregon State researchers were called in to examine the crop for why it was unaffected by the herbicide, and it was found that the plants were in fact genetically resistant to the substance. Further investigation revealed that the plants came from a particular wheat strain produced by a St. Louis, Missouri company named Monsanto.
The strange thing is that this strand was supposedly under lock and key, not exposed for over a decade since when the company initiated the testing and possible development of modified wheat crops in application to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Since the engineering project was not pursued due to consumer protest against mainstreaming modified wheat, the test seeds have reportedly been stored in a USDA secured facility in Colorado for years.
The USDA performed over 100 field tests with the same wheat strain across many states around the same time as Monsanto’s testing.
The company responded that the seeds were inadvertently, or even possibly intentionally planted. Representatives say extensive testing was undergone on fields with no other findings of the strain.
The Associated Press detailed that over half of the wheat produced in the U.S. is exported. The USDA assures that no modified wheat has entered the food system, but international receivers of the crop are on alert.
Genetically modified foods are a lingering topic in the headlines, and this particular event is an intensifying discovery. Soybean and corn crops grown in the U.S. are already known to be genetically altered, however the country’s wheat crop is not.
With the spotlight on the food supply, this will surely be receiving follow ups on future news broadcasts.
Watch a video about the story from CBS News.
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